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to its very nature. To have true faith in the Church at all, we must receive it as one, holy, apostolical, and catholic. To let go any of these attributes in our thought, is necessarily to give up at the same time the being of the Church itself as an article of faith, and to substitute for it a mere chimera of our own brain under its sacred name. Hence the tenacity with which the Church has ever held fast to this title of catholic, as her inalienable distinction over against all mere parties or sects bearing the christian name. Had the title been only of accidental or artificial origin, no such stress would have been laid on it, and no such force would have been felt always to go along with its ap. plication. It has had its reason and authority all along, not so much in what it may have been made to mean exactly for the understanding in the way of formal definition and reflection, as in the living sense rather of christianity itself, the consciousness of faith here as that which goes before all reflection and furnishes the contents with which it is to be exercised.
The term catholic, it is generally understood, is of the same sense immediately with universal, and so we find some who are jealous of the first, as carrying to their ears a popish sound, affecting to use ibis last rather in the Creed. They feel it easier to say: "I believe in a holy universal or general church," than to adopt out and out the old form : “I believe in the holy catholic, or in one holy catholic, church.” In this case however it needs to be borne in mind that there are two kinds of generality or universality, and that only one of them answers to the true force of the term catholic; so that there is some danger of bringing in by such change of terms an actual change of sense also, that shall go in the end to overthrow the proper import of the attribute altogether.
The two kinds of universality to which we refer are presented to us in the words all and whole. These are often taken to be substantially of one and the same meaning. In truth however their sense is very different. The first is an abstraction, derived from the contemplation or thought of a certain number of separate individual existences, which are brought together in the mind and classified collectively by the notion of their common properties. In such view, the general is of course something secondary to the individual existences from which it is abstracted, and it can never be more broad or comprehensive than these are in their numerical and empirical aggregation. It is ever accordingly a limited and finite generality. Thus we speak of all the trees in a forest, all the stars, all men, &c., meaning properly in each case the actual number of trees, stars, or men, individually embraced at the time in our general view, neither more nor less, a totality which exists only by the mind and is strictly dependent on the objects considered in their individual character. We reach the conception by a process of induction, starting with single things, and by comparison and abstraction rising to what is general ; while yet in the very nature of the case the generality can never transcend the true bounds of the empirical process out of which it grows and on which it rests. But widely different now from all this, is the conception legitimately expressed by the word whole. The generality it denotes is not abstract, a mere notion added to things outwardly by the mind, but concrete; it is wrought into the very nature of the things :hemselves, and they grow forth from it as the necessary and perpetual ground of their own being and life. In this way, it does not depend on individual and single existences as their product or consequence; although indeed it can have no place in the living world without them; but in the order of actual being they must be taken rather to depend on it, and to subsist in it and from it as their proper original. Such a generality is not finite, but infinite, that is without empirical limits and bounds; it is not the creature of mere experience, and so is not held to its particular measure however large, but in the form of idea is always more than the simple aggregate of things by which it is revealed at any given time in the world of sense. The all ex presses a mechanical unity, which is made up of the parts that belong to it, by their being brought together in a purely outward way; the whole signifies on the contrary an crganic unity, where the parts as such have no separate and independent existence, but draw their being from the universal unity itself in which they are comprehended, while they serve at the same time to bring it into view. The whole man for instance is not simply all the elements and powers that enter empirically into his constitution, but this living constitution itself rather as something more general than all such elements and powers, in virtue of which only they come to be thus what they are in fact. In the same way the whole of nature is by no means of one sense simply with The numerical aggregate, the actual all, of the objects and things that go to make up what we call the system of nature at any given time; and humanity or the human race as a whole unay never be taken as identical with all men, whether this be understood of all the men of the present generation only br be so extended as to include all generations in the like outward view. Even where the thing in view may appear by its nature to exclude the general distinction here made, it irill be found on close consideration that where the terms before us are used at all appropriately they never have just the same sense, but that the whole of a thing implies always of right something more than is expressed merely by its all. The whole house is not of one signification with all the house, the whole watch with all its parts, or the whole library with alt the certain books that are found upon its shelves. Two different ways of looking at the object, whatever it may be, are indicated by the two terms, and also two materially different conceptions, the force of which it is not difficult to feel even where there may be no power to make it clear for thought.
And now if it be asked which of these two orders of universality is intended by the title catholić, as applied to the christian Church, the answer is at once sufficiently plain. It is that which is expressed by the word whole, (a term that comes indeed etymologically from the same root,) and not that whose meaning lies more fitly in the word all. A man may say: “I believe in a holy universal Church;" when his meaning comes merely to this at last, that he puts all single christians together in his own mind, and is willing then to acknowledge them under this collective title. The universality thus reached however is only an abstraction, and as such falls short altogether of the living concrote mystery which is set before us as an object, not of reflection simply, but of divine supernatural faith, in the old æcumenical symbols. The true universality of Christ's kingdom is organic and concrete. It has a real historical existence in the world in and through the parts of which it is composed ; while yet it is not in any way the sum simply or result of these, as though they could have a separate exisțence beyond and before such general fact; but rather it must be regarded as going before them in the order of actual being, as underlying them at every point, and as comprehending them always in its more ample range. It is the whole, in virtue of which only the parts entering into its constitution can have any real subsistence as parts, whether taken collectively or single. Such undoubtedly is the sense of the ancient formula, “I believe in the holy catholie church,” as it meets us in the faith of the early christian world.
But the idea of wholeness is variously determined of course by the nature of the object to which ii may be applied. We can speak of a whole forest, a whole continent, or a whole planet; of a whole species of animals or of animated nature as a whole; of a whole man, a whole nation, a whole generation, or a whole human world. What now is the whole, in reference to which the attribute of the Church here under consideration is affirmed, as a necessary article of christian faith?
The only proper answer to this question is, that the attribute refers to the idea of universal humanity, or of this world as a whole. When christianity is declared to be catholic, the declaration must be taken in its full sense to affirm, that the last idea of this world as brought to its completion in man is made perfectly possible in the form of christianity, and in this form alone, and that this power therefore can never cease to work until it shall have actually taken possession of the world as a whole, and shall thus stand openly and clearly revealed as the true consummation of its nature and history in every other view.
The universalness here affirmed must be taken to extend in the end, of course, over the limits of män's nature abstractly considered, to the physical constitution of the surrounding world, according to Rom. viii, 19-23, 2 Peter iii, 13, and many other passages in the Bible; for the physical and moral'are so bound together as a single whole in the organization of man's life, that the true and full redemption of this last would seem of itself to require a real rancyyevedia or 'renovation also of the earth in its natural form. The proper" wholeness even of nature itself, ideally considered, lies ultimately in the power of christianity, and can be brought to pass or made actual only by its means. But it is more immediately and directly with the world of humanity as such that this power is concerned, and such 'reference is to be acknowledged too, no doubt, às mainly predominant in the ecclesiastical use of the title which we have now in hand. Christianity is catholic, and claims to be so received by an act of faith, inasmuch as it forms the true and proper wholeness of mankind, the round and full symmetrical cosmos of humanity, within which only its individual manifestations can ever become complete, and on the outside of which there is no room to think of man's life except as a failure.
There are two ways of looking at the human world, under the conception of its totality. The view may regard simply the area of the world's life outwardly considered, humanity in its numerical extent, as' made up of a certain number of nations, tribes and individual men; or it may be directed more particularly to the world's life inwardly considered, humanity in its intensive character, the being of man as a living fact or coustilution made up of certain elements, laws, forces and relations, which enter necessarily into its conception aside from the particular millions of living men as such by which it may be rep resented at any given time. These two conceptions are plainly different; while it is equally plain at the same time that neither of them may be allowed with any propriety to exclude the oth
er, but that the true and real wholeness of humanity is to be found only in the union of both. Christianity or the Kingdom of God is catholic, as it carries in itself the power to take possession of the world both extensively and intensively, and can never reşt short of this end. It is formed for such two fold victory over the reign of sin, and has a mission from heaven accordingly to conquer the universe of man's life in this whole and entire way;
Here precisely, lies the missionary nature and character of the Church. It has a call to possess the world, and it is urged continually by its own constitution to fulfil this call. The spirit of missions, wherever it prevails, bears testimony to the catholicity of christianity, and rests on the assumption that it is the only absolutely true and normal form of man's life, and so of right should, and of necessity also at last must, come to be universally acknowledged and obeyed.
As regards the numerical view of the world, or its evangelization in extenso, this is generally admitted. All christians are ready to allow, that the world in this view belongs of right to Christ, and that it is his purpose and plan to take possession of it universally in the end as his own. The commission, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," at once makes it a duty to seek the extension of the gospel among all men, and authorizes the confident expectation that this extension will finally be reached. The world needs christianity, and it can never rest satisfied to be anything less than a full complement for this need. It has regard by its very nature, not to any section of humanity only, not to any particular nation or age or rạce, but to humanity as such, to the universal idea of man, as this includes all kindreds tribes and tongues under the whole heaven. " The field is the world.” Christianity can tolerate np Heathenism, Mohammedanism, or Judaism at its side. It may not forego its right to the poorest or most outcast and degraded tribe upon the earth, in favor of any other religion. Wherever human life reaches, it claims the right of following it and embracing it in the way of redemption. The heathen are given to the Son for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. It is a sound and right feeling thus which enters into the cause of missions in its ordinary form, and leads the church to pray and put forth action in various ways for the conversion of the nations.
But it is not always so clearly seen, that the intensive mastery of the world's life belongs just as truly as this extensive work to the idea of the kingdom of God, and that it ought to be there